To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
13th Floor Books
3.0 out of 5 starsBakker is awfully proud of his philosophy degree
Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2019
If, like me, you're more than a little weary of the multitudes of fantasy novels that are Tolkien knockoffs, cluttered with the usual Elf/Dwarf/Wizard/Magical Quest motifs, you might find yourself intrigued by something with a little more meat on its eldritch bones. Something more on the lines of Song of Ice and Fire, or Kingkiller Chronicles, or Wolfe's Book of the New Sun (and yes, I know, Severian's adventures are science fiction, but it may as well be fantasy for all the stuff going on in it). Sound good? Well, if that's the case don't bother with Bakker's work here. And that's a really disappointing thing to say, because there are things about this series that I do enjoy: the altogether evil creatures pulling the strings behind the scenes in the background, the main character of Kellhus and his use of cold logic to manipulate the people around him in order to fight the baddies, Bakker's different take on magic and the different schools of wizardry. What annoys the living spit out of me is Bakker's incessant need to stop the storyline every other page with a description of how much of a philosophical genius and living prophet that Kellhus is in the eyes of the people around him, how stunned they are by his presence, and so on. And then there are the names. 3/4 of the names of the characters and tribes and nations are confounding, confusing, and tossed off just for the sake of having another vaguely European/Arabic character that you only see in one or two chapters. During battle scenes, for instance, some lordling of some fiefdom will get mentioned as he goes off to fight some other lordling of some other fiefdom without ever describing WHO that character is, which side they are on, and exactly what the hell their action has to do with the rest of the story. These WTF moments happen so often that it's like reading part of the text of something like Gibbon's Rise and Fall without knowing what you're reading or having the requisite medieval history degree to understand what the hell is going on. One gets the sense that Bakker had all these characters listed down with a small history of them in his personal notes, so if he knew who they were why shouldn't we? All in all, this entire series works better as a rough draft rather than a completed novel. Too bad his editor couldn't wean him away from his philosophy dissertation and get him to stick to story and characterization. These three books could easily have been chopped down to one thick novel that packed a punch, rather than bloated with pseudo-intellectual nonsense. It's too bad, really. Maybe he'll turn out something really good someday, but not with this trilogy.
1.0 out of 5 starsCouldn't finish it. 30% into book 3
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2020
This is pretty horrible. Too many fancy words to say nothing. I hate the characters more and more for every chapter I read. There's not one of them I like. That's incredibly rare for me. Author harps on and on about the same incessant don't-care topics. I'm sure there's a whole book in there on just whatshernames opinion on kellhus. I'm annoyed that I couldn't manage to finish, but also relieved that I've finally decided to stop trying. For what it's worth I recommend skipping this - the world might seem interesting, but the pretentious writing style brings it down.
I don't know if R. Scott Bakker is just brilliant or a top notch researcher. The philosophy, architecture, geography, psychology and much more that he sprinkles throughout his stories make his novels much more than typical fantasy books. These are not writings that one can just breeze through. Well, you can, but you will miss so much. There are passages that are just so thought provoking, that I sometimes have to set the book aside for a moment to contemplate what I've just read. The plots and sub-plots are skillfully woven throughout the stories, along with such well developed characters that you really care what happens to them. I highly recommend this trilogy. Without a doubt, the best I've ever read.
5.0 out of 5 starsWhat a great conclusion to The Prince of Nothing
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2020
What a great ending to the first trilogy of the epic series that is The Second Apocalypse. The first half of the novel is a little slow compared to the previous entry, but the effort is well worth it. The conclusion, while disappointing to some, is satisfying in it's own way. I look forward to continuing this story with The Aspect Emperor.
I should have died on the battlefield before they reached Shimeh! Yes, I expected the lights and flashes and booms when the sorcerers finally began the battle. It was the verbal equivalent of your typical action movie. But, after all this blood, sweat, and metaphysical tears I expected to understand the explanation of what was going on! It may have been clear to Bakker, but this wizard is limping on to another fantasy world.
pretty good but some of the dream like, surrealistic flights of fancy were too much for me, I enjoyed these books most when characters got involved with each other, & it seems a pretty thin allegory for the Crusades/ Bible which i don't know enough about to expound on... wish there was more exploring,dark magic instead of such lengthy creation myth...had trouble keeping all the complicated other world- ly names straight! I'll read the next one though!
A shining conclusion to the first trilogy of a doomed world, Bakker has crafted an epic story that defies all previous conceptions of the genre. Invoking both glamour and horror in equal measure, the reader is drawn into a landscape of desperation and fading hope that leaves you gasping in wonder at each cataclysmic revelation. Immensely satisfying and highly recommended!
2.0 out of 5 starsMuddled and unsatisfactory conclusion
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2012
After thoroughly enjoying the epic scale and harrowing exploits of the Holy War in the opening two volumes of R Scott Bakkers Prince of Nothing series, I found the final volume to be a mostly abject ending. Not only were previously interesting charcters reduced to whimpering redundant shadows of their former selves (Conphas, Cnauir, Achamian & Xinemus), but one cannot help but feel the author panicked somewhere between book 2 & 3. Bakker must have felt he had not provided enough information containing the impending doom of the world through the second apocalypse and felt inclined in book 3 to dedicate large sections splurging messy disjointed flashbacks through Achamians dream sequences to solving this puzzle. Personally I felt enough was done in this respect in the first two volumes and book 3 should have dealt with the concluding perils of the Holy War and it's final battle at Shimeh. Also, vast tracts of the book are written without any refernce to which character's view point we are seeing it from. It could be present day, it could be in the first apocalypse, Achamian, Seswatha, Serwe, skin-spy, who knows! Many may find this a subtle interweaving of threads and character emotions, whereas I found it turgid and confusing. Not all is appaling though; there are many satisfying battle scenes in and around Shimeh, Achamian finaly finds some semblence of happiness and Bakker can hardly be accused of butchering the English language. As a concluding part to a previously gripping epic however, The Thousandfold Thought was poor.
3.0 out of 5 starsAfter Warrior - The Thought May Disappoint...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2006
Okay - so we all know that the first book - The Darkness That Comes Before - was a metaphorical slap in the face that woke us all up from the generic, linear fantasy of recent years. Then along came The Warrior-Prophet which, in my opinion, was a literary masterpiece. So, with this in mind, my expectation for TTT was huge. This may account for my utter disappointment with the third story, but I can't help but feel that the story is inferior to what has come before it.
All of the ingredients are there: the Holy War finally makes it to the Holy City of Shimeh, there to reclaim what the heathen have abused. Kellhus and Cnaiur come face to face with their quarry in a war of words that would boggle the mind of Einstein. And good old Achamian, much abused, jilted and misunderstood, faces his nightmares of the First Apocalypse whilst he struggles to warm the cold shoulder his beloved Esmi shows him. Mix all of these up and you should have a satisfying conclusion (or at least extension, if this turns out not to be the last book) to the story. But for me it just fell flat. Way too much proselytizing and internal conflicts that obviously make sense and add depth to the characters in the mind of Mr Bakker, but just come off as a confusing and annoying to the reader. I read and re-read paragraph after paragraph to try and get the meaning of the internal struggles of all and sundry and just ended up completely frustrated.
I'm sure the story has tension, I'm certain the Consult get what they deserve, and I'm positive the No-God gets his well deserved comeuppance, it's just that I couldn't understand most of the cryptic fits of excellence the book has to describe them.
It would be churlish to say the writing isn't as good - so I won't, but I failed to find any of the poetic flow or clever use of alliteration that was found in the second book; a few sentences shine out, but far too few.
Was it brought to a satisfactory conclusion, I hear you ask? Well no, but then I think they'll be a fourth book - scrub that - I hope they'll be a fourth book, as everything just seems to be hanging in mid air. Yes, most of the story-lines appear to be resolved, I say appear, because it's all dressed up with the cryptic conversation and explanations that just rob the story of any clarity, so mush so that I never really knew what the hell was being accomplished or resolved.
Annoyingly enough, I enjoyed the last couple of pages the most -after all the hullabaloo has died down there's an odd moment of real tension between Kellhus and Achamian that almost makes the cryptic diatribe that preceded it worth reading the book.
Maybe a second read is warranted. Here's hoping book 4 - if there is one - reclaims the certain indefinable allure that so captured me with the first two.